Better to Marry than Burn

I wouldn’t refer to my first time as fire.
But after reading the diary of 13-year-old me
(got laid, I recorded for posterity),
father invited pastor to our living room to agree
over coffee that I am sexually dysfunctional.

Just before I turned 14, mother waved in my face
the contraceptive box kid sis found
under fabric scraps on my closet shelf.
One’s missing! mother seethed through her teeth.
Why should I believe it wasn’t used for fornication?
You’ve already proven you are used up—and broken.

It is a child’s duty to practice self-control.
So I apologized for my preventative measures,
and some weeks after, for pregnancy-testing positive.
But even twenty-five years after that,
I still refuse to repent for my making my firstborn.

 

Catherine Zickgraf

Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities—yet homeschooling her autistic youngest inspires her the most. Her writing has appeared in Journal of the American Medical Association, [Pank], Victorian Violet Press, and The Grief Diaries.

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